Frequently Asked Questions
How long of a recovery can I expect?
The answer is not universal, since each person is a unique individual with varying degrees of severity of their condition and each person responds differently to treatment. If you have a high demand job, you may require a longer recovery period. During your first post-operative visit, your return to your full activities will be discussed.
When can I drive?
Once again, this is not a universal answer, and each person recovers at different rates. However, most of our patients can drive within one week from the surgery. We do not recommend that you attempt to drive while under the influence of narcotic medication or during the first 72 hours when you have the large bulky dressing on your leg. Once this is removed, you can take a short test drive with someone else by your side. It is recommended you have someone drive you to an empty parking lot and take a short test drive to determine if it is safe for you to drive. Remember, that your decision not only affects your safety, but the safety of your passengers, and the other people on the road.
How long do I need the crutches?
If you had a normal arthroscopic procedure, crutches are optional. Unless you are instructed otherwise, you may only need to use the crutches or a cane until your muscle strength is strong enough to safely ambulate. For most of our patients this is within the first 24 hours. We have provided you with a prescription for a pair of crutches and, if needed, crutch training. We suggest you use them for your own safety and wean yourself off them when you feel confident and safe in your ambulation.
Will I need physical therapy?
Below, you will find a set of easy to complete exercises recommended to help you regain your strength and stability. On your first post-operative visit with us, we can discuss your progress and make further recommendations.
Quadriceps sets help rebuild your front thigh muscles, which help give your knee its greatest stability. "Quad sets" can be done anywhere, anytime, lying down or sitting. Simply tighten your quadriceps to press your knee toward the floor or bed. Hold for five (5) to 10 second, then relax. It may help to rest your hand on your knee cap and feel it move upward slightly as you tighten your muscles. You may begin doing "Quad sets" 24 hours after surgery. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, and two (2) sets per day.
Heel slides help you regain range of motion in your knee and hip. Start by lying down or sitting on a firm surface (e.g., a bed, floor, or firm couch). Bend your bandaged knee and slowly slide your heel up the bed or floor, as far as possible, toward your buttocks. Hold for four (4) to six (6) seconds, then slowly slide your heel back down and repeat. You may begin doing heel slides 24 hours after surgery. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, and two (2) sets per day.
Toe presses help rebuild your calf muscles. Simply press up on your toes with both feet, hold for five (5) to 10 seconds, and slowly lower your heels. Use a support for balance. You may begin doing toe presses 24 hours after surgery. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, and two (2) sets per day.
Ankle circles help you regain range of motion in your ankle. Simply circle your foot slowly, five (5) times in each direction, making each circle as large as you can. You may begin doing ankle circles the same day of surgery. Do 10 repetitions, and six (6) sets per day.
Straight Leg Raises
Straight leg raises help rebuild all of the muscles that support your knee.
To the Front: Lie on your back and do a "quad set" as described above. Lift your leg eight (8) to 12 inches. Hold four (4) to five (5) seconds, then slowly lower and repeat.
To the Back: Lie on your stomach and lift your leg straight behind you eight (8) to 12 inches. Hold four (4) to six (6) seconds, then slowly lower and repeat.
To the Outside: Lie on your side, and lift your bandaged leg 12 to 24 inches. Hold four (4) to six (6) seconds, then slowly lower and repeat.
To the Inside: Rest your leg on a low support as shown. Lift your bandaged leg up to touch ankles. Hold four (4) to six (6) seconds, then slowly lower and repeat. You may begin doing straight leg raises 24 hours after surgery. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, and two (2) sets per day.
What about notes for work/school or my disability insurance?
All of the paperwork needed to document your disability can be completed by discussing this with our staff prior to your surgery. For some disability carriers, we have to do make some phone calls, research your chart, and find the appropriate codes. Because this requires a tremendous amount of time and effort from our staff, we will require a small fee. Please make sure you give all of these requests directly to our staff, since paperwork given to the physician just delays the process. A simple form is also required to complete your request. This can be obtained through any of our staff members.
We appreciate the opportunity to help you in your recovery. We are always available for any questions or comments you may have since our primary objective is to provide you with the best of care. Feel free to talk with any of our staff. We are here to help.